Blaze badminton shuttles with the best
Coach Limke sees an athletic surge in the program
Burnsville badminton head coach Jeff Limke said he believes the Blaze could have one of its best seasons in several years.
The Blaze split its opening matches, sweeping Minneapolis Roosevelt 7-0 in late March but falling 4-3 to St. Paul Highland Park on April 5. The Blaze wasn’t at full strength in either match.
“Our team is probably more athletic top to bottom than we’ve been in quite some time,” Limke said. “They’re learning quickly and adding some more advanced techniques that we’ve not always been able to do.”
The Blaze has an influx of talent coming from the volleyball court thanks to the similarities between the sports.
“Many of the concepts are the same so those girls adapt very quickly and find success pretty quickly,” Limke said. “We’ve always had a good dose of tennis and soccer players, but the infusion of volleyball has raised the bar a bit as to what the girls expect to be able to do on the court.”
That has left the Blaze with some lofty goals.
“If we can keep improving through the season, we can make a strong run come tournament time,” Limke said.
Depth is a concern. There are plenty of players to fill the spots, but not everyone has the same level of experience.
“We don’t have the luxury of anybody being out,” Limke said.
Rachel Raden and Camille Benson have returned as the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players.
“They’re both strong power players who are learning to round out their game,” Limke said.
Raven Klein and Alli Butler fill out the singles at No. 3 and No. 4 where they’re expected to hold their own and bring a few victories.
Britta Riggs and Katherine Connelly are at No. 1 doubles. Sam Bramley and Kelsey Olson play second doubles, and Sarah Codner and Samantha McGuire are at No. 3.
“I really want to see what we’re capable of doing with our full roster in place,” Limke said. “I think we’re stronger than we’ve been in a few years with that lineup. How that will translate over the season is going to be what everyone on the team wants to see.”
Badminton is unique in that no other South Suburban Conference schools have it as a varsity sport. Burnsville instead plays against programs from Minneapolis and St. Paul.